The U.S. Government is firmly committed to supporting Kenya’s efforts to defeat al-Shabaab and to ensure security of all of its citizens. We are disappointed, however, by the very limited time allowed for debate and consultation on the 2014 Security Laws (Amendment) Bill prior to its passage and enactment into law. We are also concerned about several provisions in the legislation, including those that appear to limit freedom of assembly and media, and access to asylum for refugees. As a key partner in the global effort to counter terrorism, we expect the Kenyan Government to ensure that its counterterrorism efforts live up to Kenya’s international commitments and its own constitution. Protecting Kenya’s constitution and upholding human rights, democracy, and international obligations are among the most effective ways to bolster security.
The U.S. Government is also seeking further information about the December 16 announcement by the Kenyan NGO Board to deregister hundreds of NGOs for failing to file their audited reports and another 15 for suspected links to terrorism. The 15 NGOs have not been identified. A strong civil society is vital to democracy, security, and prosperity. We urge the Government of Kenya to ensure the regulation of NGOs is transparent, fair, and grounded in clear criteria that do not limit free expression, association, or assembly.